Notable Law School alumnus: James K. Lee, ’92 J.D., managing partner at the Seoul office of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP, a Washington, D.C.-based law firm with 14 offices in the United States, Europe, and Asia
Academic path: Lee was born in South Korea and lived there until he was 9, when his family moved to Michigan. When it came time to apply to law school, he wanted a strong international curriculum and a strong clinic program—both of which are strengths of the University of Minnesota Law School.
His career goal: “It was always my dream to someday establish an office in Seoul on behalf of a major American international law firm,” he says. That dream came true in 2015, when he launched the Seoul office of White & Case as managing partner, and in 2019, when he established the Seoul office of Arnold & Porter, also as managing partner. Before that, he practiced law in Los Angeles for 20 years.
On working across cultures: “For some Korean clients, the litigation experience in the U.S. may be familiar, but to many, it is not. As a trial lawyer, I act as a cultural bridge for clients in helping them understand the judicial process in the United States.”
Life lessons from the Law School: Lee says the Law School fostered a collegial and collaborative mindset, which he’s found essential in working at a large law firm.
Why he chooses to give back: “It’s important to support talented students who come to the school from diverse backgrounds,” says Lee, who received scholarships while attending the Law School and recently made a generous gift to support today’s students. “I want to help it continue to be a highly ranked, reputable school.”
(Photo: James Lee enjoying a dinner in Seoul with Timothy Wolf, director of international development at the University of Minnesota Foundation)
- A U of M professor developed a study-abroad course to give students a first-hand look at how cities in China are managing rapid population growth.
- As part of a new partnership, scholars from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences and the University of Minnesota are working together on research and other academic collaborations.
- During an unexpected trip to Minnesota, an alumna from Shanghai gives back to the University of Minnesota through music.
- Elizabeth Ka-Yee Kan says her U of M education in accounting and economics (and a minor in dance) continues to influence her life.